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WOMEN POWER !-FINLAND’S THIRD FEMALE PRIME MINISTER, SANNA MARIN (34) IS THE WORLD’S YOUNGEST PRIME MINISTER and her new finance minister Katri Kulmuni, 32 , one of four other female party leaders in the five-party ruling centre-left coalition is even youngeer, with only one of them over 35, bringing new blood into a demanding political scenario .
“Politics is getting harder,” says Kristina Tolkki, a political journalist from Finland’s national broadcaster YLE. “We need some younger people who can be there 24/7, some fresh faces, always ready to react and not say anything stupid.”
Sanna Marin comes from a modest background.
In an interview for the Menaiset website (in Finnish) in 2015 she spoke about the stigma she encountered when her mother was in a same-sex relationship. She said that a she felt “invisible” because she was unable to talk openly about her family.
But her mother had always been supportive and made her believe she could do anything she wanted, she said.
She was the first person in her family to finish high school and go to university.
Through the ranks
Ms Marin went into politics at the age of 20 and two years later was already running for a council seat in Tampere, a city north of Helsinki.
She wasn’t elected, but within just five years she had not just won a seat but become council leader, aged just 27.
She rose quickly through the ranks of the Social Democrats (SDP), Finland’s main centre-left party, becoming an MP in 2015.
She is seen as being a left-winger in the party, and a strong advocate of Finland’s welfare state.
As an MP she quickly caught the attention of party leader Antti Rinne, becoming his deputy and essentially his favourite.
Ms Sarin was appointed transport and communications minister in the new government, but it didn’t take long for the clouds to gather.
A row over the prime minister’s handling of a postal strike led to his resignation within months of taking office.
Ms Marin narrowly won a party vote to replace him on Sunday.
The mother of a 22-month-old daughter, she has dismissed questions about her suitability for the job.
“I have never thought about my age or gender. I think of the reasons I got into politics and those things for which we have won the trust of the electorate,” she told reporters after being chosen for prime minister.
But she takes office with more strikes threatened, and production expected to come to a halt at some of Finland’s largest companies.
Ms Marin is Finland’s third female prime minister. The first, Anneli Jaatteenmaki, lasted barely more than two months in 2003 and the second, Mari Kiviniemi, was only in power for a year (2010-11).
But by riding a popular wave just six months into the coalition’s four-year term, the 34-year-old can surely expect to do better. BBC
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